UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications

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Department of Emergency Medicine

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Emergency Medicine | Health Communication | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology | Telemedicine


BACKGROUND: Emergency departments (EDs) have the potential to provide evidence-based practices for suicide prevention to patients who are acutely suicidal. However, few EDs have adequate time and personnel resources to deliver recommended evidence-based assessment and interventions. To raise the clinical standard of care for patients who are suicidal and seeking psychiatric crisis services in the ED, we developed Jaspr Health, a tablet-based app for direct use by such patients, which enables the delivery of 4 evidence-based practices.

OBJECTIVE: This study aims to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of Jaspr Health among suicidal adults in EDs.

METHODS: Patients who were acutely suicidal and seeking psychiatric crisis services participated in an unblinded pilot randomized controlled trial while in the ED. Participants were randomly assigned to Jaspr Health (n=14) or care as usual (control; n=17) groups. Participants were assessed at baseline, and a 2-hour posttest using self-report measures and a semistructured interview were conducted.

RESULTS: Conditions differed significantly at baseline with regard to age but not other demographic variables or baseline measures. On average, participants had been in the ED for 17 hours before enrolling in the study. Over their lifetime, 84% (26/31) of the sample had made a suicide attempt (mean 3.4, SD 6.4) and 61% (19/31) had engaged in nonsuicidal self-injurious behaviors, with an average rate of 8.8 times in the past 3 months. All established feasibility and acceptability criteria were met: no adverse events occurred, participants' app use was high, Jaspr Health app user satisfaction ratings were high, and all participants using Jaspr Health recommended its use for other suicidal ED patients. Comparisons between study conditions provide preliminary support for the effectiveness of the app: participants using Jaspr Health reported a statistically significant increase in receiving 4 evidence-based suicide prevention interventions and overall satisfaction ratings with their ED experience. In addition, significant decreases in distress and agitation, along with significant increases in learning to cope more effectively with current and future suicidal thoughts, were observed among participants using Jaspr Health compared with those receiving care as usual.

CONCLUSIONS: Even with limited statistical power, the results showed that Jaspr Health is feasible, acceptable, and clinically effective for use by ED patients who are acutely suicidal and seeking ED-based psychiatric crisis services.



digital technology, emergency department, suicide, suicide prevention

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© Linda A Dimeff, David A Jobes, Kelly Koerner, Nadia Kako, Topher Jerome, Angela Kelley-Brimer, Edwin D Boudreaux, Blair Beadnell, Paul Goering, Suzanne Witterholt, Gabrielle Melin, Vicki Samike, Kathryn M Schak. Originally published in JMIR Mental Health (, 01.03.2021. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Mental Health, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

DOI of Published Version



Dimeff LA, Jobes DA, Koerner K, Kako N, Jerome T, Kelley-Brimer A, Boudreaux ED, Beadnell B, Goering P, Witterholt S, Melin G, Samike V, Schak KM. Using a Tablet-Based App to Deliver Evidence-Based Practices for Suicidal Patients in the Emergency Department: Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Ment Health. 2021 Mar 1;8(3):e23022. doi: 10.2196/23022. PMID: 33646129; PMCID: PMC7961404. Link to article on publisher's site

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JMIR mental health

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.